“No industry fails as fast as the trade sector,” says the Harvard Business Review. Why? Reference is to the sales strategy. Each can lead to success, but it also has an equal chance of failure. After all, in commerce it all depends on the reaction of the consumer. It is unreal to satisfy everyone.
Newspaper headlines say: “Buying with the help of voice search”, “Pop-up windows in social networks”, “Shopping with virtual reality glasses”. All these are unconditional future trends, but the essence is hidden in another.
Statistics, and most importantly - the words of the leaders of leading brands say that the success of trade depends not on innovation. The key factor is customer choice. The consumer forms the trend. What to expect in 2020 from our desires and how to choose a good idea for startups?
End of online and offline trading confrontation
Permanent “digital” excitement created many stereotypes. One of them is that retail trade is dying, and only e-commerce comes to replace it. But brand leaders will tell you that choice, not location, is the main trade feature.
What caused such stereotypes? Firstly, the loss from sales in the "offline" stores dropped in comparison with previous years. Secondly, the share of consumer goods in the production market has remained unchanged (lack of progress means regression). Thirdly, microbrends born online devour the lion's share of growth. In the end, the overall achievements of e-commerce never cease to amaze.
But there is an unobvious result: sales in regular stores dominate online sales of $ 20 trillion. It is noteworthy that this gap will grow. Why? The rapid development of e-commerce has slowed today. The fall in the percentage increase in profits is less every year.
E-commerce: a fall in growth and the gap with retail
Today, those brands that understand the fundamental interaction of different sales methods are winning. So, if they followed the thesis “retail trade is dead”, all investments would be directed to online sales and consumer attraction to the site. But we see that the development of products and their presentation occurs primarily in the real world.
The consumer still prefers the “real” store, rather than the virtual one. But this difference is small. Today, the buyer wants to have a choice: order online or search for goods live. Therefore, these two options are fully combined. Same product, same prices and conditions. Most importantly - both options must be implemented by each brand.
Customer focus is the future e-commerce
This is more than a trend - this is the principle of any business. You cannot succeed if the leader of the corporation does not think about their customers. This is especially true of the trade industry, where the whims of the consumer are all sophisticated every year.
Each company focuses on “brand value” and “brand goal”. The first element develops as the number of regular customers’ increases. The second is aimed at attracting such consumers. How to do it?
For a long time, simple advertising was enough, which shows that the product is perfect. For example, by purchasing a Ford brand minivan, the whole family will be able to safely and comfortably travel throughout America.
Components of customer focus. Source of the image
Today, the customer is tired of looking at the "perfect" advertising, since every product has obvious flaws. Moreover, the very fact of advertising often causes indignation. Such methods no longer work.
The future is to attract attention by demonstrating the real possibilities of the product. At the same time, every opportunity should be useful for the client. Marketing has not gone anywhere. But every PR move should also be useful to the consumer:
- multi-level discounts;
- free gifts;
- subscriptions to services.
This is an incomplete list of steps that global brands have already taken to attract customers. It is updated with the development of technologies that more accurately determine the requirements of consumers. The question remains whether these methods are good enough?
Using the power of content
For a long time, marketers were wrong with the content. They believed that the material on the site page was created to sell. Yes, this is one of its functions. But far from the most important task.
The power of content is in creating some connection between the customer and the brand. A small history, cognitive information, statistics and other similar information allows the company to get into the heart and mind of a person. Why? When viewing this kind of content, the user feels that he is developing. It instantly builds brand confidence.
In many cases, it does not matter how good your strategies are. Your audience should connect with your content. It plays the role of an inspirational factor. It introduces the client to the company, its principles, ideas and even interests. If sales are falling, the problem is probably in poor content. If traffic becomes more expensive, the content is one of the main reasons.
What should be the content?
First of all, diverse: written, audio and visual content must be used evenly. According to statistics, the video is best attracted to the audience. However, when listening to records or reading text, fantasy is activated. Exactly it forms the customer's expectations. It is necessary to satisfy them.
In addition, it must be educational. Spend a little more time collecting actual statistics or analyzing your own sales and provide this information to the customer. Many people think that this is how profit falls for each hour spent. In fact, it is growing as it attracts many times more users.
Exclude direct advertising. This trend of the past will never be successful. Even if you need to mention the name of the product or company, do it as veiled as possible. It is necessary to create synergy between the general message of the material and its selling part.
Good content sells not a product, but an opportunity to improve the aspect of consumer life.
Implementing user experience
Web design has opened up many opportunities for sites of any type, including the e-commerce industry. Modern development tools allow you to implement almost any idea: you need only time.
The big problem with e-commerce was that the product could not be studied comprehensively. The solution is a UX design. One example is the Anafi quadrocopter sales site. In a matter of minutes, it fully acquaints the user with all the features of the product, and also shows the features of every detail of the quadcopter.
A similar idea can be implemented regardless of the niche. For example, selling bicycles can show its details, the sequence of their connection. Also, you can implement a simple function to select the color of the product. User experience is hard to overdo. The only difficulty is quality implementation.
Reviews instead of social networks
For many years, experts preached the sale of goods through social networks, without sending the client to the official store. This was argued by the development of the role of social networks on the Internet. Thus, many platforms have implemented the ability to create a trading account.
This belief was one of the biggest mistakes of marketers. Regardless of age, all consumers claim that social networks are the least effective source of influence on purchasing decisions. In addition, mainly customers do not use the opportunity to purchase goods through a social network and are not even interested in this:
Attracting new customers is most effective through appropriate campaigns. In particular, the cheapest and most productive way are brand reviews or specific products from reputable sources.
The reader takes this review as the opinion of the person who has already purchased the product. The review creates the feeling that the client did not just read the information about the product online, but seemed to ask his friend about it.
Reviews, as a rule, describe the product from both the good and the bad side. It displays a real picture. Previously, marketers were afraid of such a move. Today, they recommend to be as honest as possible with the client. The manufacturer itself cannot give an objective assessment, but a neutral blogger is capable.
Shopping via smartphone - new weekdays
Since mobile traffic has surpassed computer traffic, the main issue of brands is how to narrow the gap between the browser and the customer. More than half of users who begin to explore the product through a smartphone, make a purchase on the same device. Mobile phone sales are over one trillion dollars.
The first step to bridge the gap is responsive design. It has already been implemented and now exists as an ongoing trend. The computer screen allows you to place a lot of information, but even with a 6-inch smartphone screen, the possibilities are limited.
That’s why companies are focusing on the adaptability of the site, placing on the mobile version of only the most useful information about the product. Also are optimized the buying process: fewer buttons, less data to fill, simple transitions between pages.
The second step is to add a purchase button through Amazon Pay, PayPal and other payment systems. In other words, all systems are used to which a potential client can link a bank card so as not to enter billing information every time.
The third step is the development of mobile applications. The amount of memory of modern devices allows you to download a large number of programs, because the use of a browser to buy through a smartphone can be excluded. Mobile application, above all, gives more opportunities to the client.
Fighting the returns
Customer orientation implies the most generous policy. One of the points of such a strategy is the possibility of returning the goods. It is noteworthy that the percentage of return in e-commerce is 3 times higher than in normal trade.
This policy did not worry sellers for a long time. Whether it was Amazon or microbrand, the return was taken for granted, since the conversion was still growing. After all, after the return, the client tried to take a different product, eventually finding his ideal.
But today, more and more often, free shipping and return, the absence of a commission for the sending distance and other usual e-commerce surcharges to the cost of goods are practiced. Accordingly, each refund constitutes a loss to the company.
Therefore, along with generous policies, the fight against the abuse of suppliers' kindness begins. Amazon announced that it will introduce a life ban for users who "serially" return goods.
Thus, the company will suffer less losses. But customers will become more organized and learn how to immediately make the right choice. According to experts, such a step should improve the relationship between suppliers and consumers.
The future of ecommerce is here
Artificial intelligence, voice search and other capabilities of modern technologies are components of e-commerce, which you will learn about from newspapers and presentations. They develop the potential of online shopping, but they are not high-priority trends.
The key direction is customer orientation, ensuring free choice and speed of making a purchase. The use of modern technology can be called "newspaper" trends. But the achievement of the relationship with the client is intra-brand trends. Success is achieved only by those companies that are familiar with the second paragraph.